1923 to 2019
Passing of NJPTOA's Founding Father
In 2019 the NJPTOA sadly lost its founding father with the passing of Executive Director, Chief Anthony J. Parenti, (Ret.).
A life well-lived in public service. Chief Parenti passed away at Overlook Hospital surrounded by his family on Thursday, August 1, 2019. Tony was born May 29th, in Plainfield, New Jersey, son of Peter and Anna, and baby brother of Albert, George, John, Armando, Laura, and Josephine. He was predeceased by his mother, father, and siblings, and is only survived by his brother Albert’s wife Louise.
After graduating from Plainfield High School, Tony joined the United States Air Force and served during the Korean Conflict, 1951 - 1955. Following the completion of his enlistment, and Honorable Discharge, Tony joined his brother George in the Plainfield Police Department. Tony moved to the Fanwood Police Department where he rose through the ranks to become the youngest Chief of Police in the State. While still a patrolman, he obtained his degree from Rutgers University during his tenure with the Fanwood Police.
In 1974, Tony founded the New Jersey Police Traffic Officers Association, serving as its president for 31 years. After stepping down as president in 2005, he was appointed as the association's first Executive Director serving in that position until his passing in 2019. Tony and the association were key elements in drafting legislation and advocating for traffic safety regulations at both the state and federal levels. One of the more notable pieces of legislation he promoted was the Right Turn on Red law.
He was a Distinguished Expert Marksman competing in pistol matches throughout the Mid-Atlantic, winning many with perfect scores of 300. Tony was a Past President of both the Union County Chiefs of Police and the New Jersey State Police Chiefs Association.
After serving 43 years with the police, he retired and was appointed as the Director of Union County's John H. Stamler Police Academy where he was responsible for the training of hundreds of law enforcement officers. Completing 10 years as Director, he ran for Fanwood Town Council and served two terms. The Courier News published Tony’s weekly “Drive Time” column for over a decade. During his lifetime, he received numerous accommodations for bravery and leadership in law enforcement. He also loved the horses and was a Past President of the New Jersey Standardbred Breeders Association. He served on its board of directors for 21 years, 14 of them as President. He enjoyed Texas Wieners, The Honeymooners, and Columbo.
Tony is survived by his loving wife of 63 years, Sally, and their three children: Nancy Fela Parenti, North Plainfield Police Chief William “Bill” Parenti (Eileen), and Somerset County Assistant Prosecutor Anthony J. Parenti, Jr. (Judy), and his nine grandchildren: Daniel (fiancé Nikki), Michael (Rachel), Danielle (fiancé Andrew), William, Bryan, Anthony, Joseph (fiancé Shahnda), Sarah, Matthew, and his three Great Grandchildren: Luke, Alexandra, and 1 week old Virginia, and his many nieces and nephews.
Tony will be remembered as a good father, a loyal friend, and an inspiration to all he met. The consummate breaker of chops, if he didn’t like you, you knew it, but he would be merciful. If he liked you, you knew it too, but there still was no mercy.
New Jersey Police Traffic Officers Association